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Yeah, Kilar is reiterating what, I think, has been the conventional wisdom in the industry for awhile now. Which is that, when the dust settles in the streaming wars after the next couple years or so, we'll be left with Amazon, Apple and (at most) three others. Obviously, Netflix and Disney are going to be two of those three.

The question is: who will be number three? It would have to be some combination of Warner, Universal and/or Paramount (along, perhaps, with one or more smaller players, like AMC or Lionsgate/Starz). Kilar seems to assume that one or more mergers will produce the studio/service that will fill that third spot.

My money is still on a Universal + Warner tie-up in 2024 or '25 as the most likely scenario, assuming such a mega-merger could pass muster with US and EU authorities. I'm less certain lately that it would. If not, then we probably end up with just four, not five, major global DTC services, with Warner, Universal, Paramount, and Lionsgate all ultimately exiting the global DTC race to become "arms dealers" (like Sony) who create and sell content to the big four DTCs. But if that's what happens, I could still see HBO existing as its own smaller US-only streaming service, sold as a "channel" option via streaming gatekeepers' own UIs (e.g. Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Channels, Roku Channel, etc.).
 

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“No more than three global entertainment companies are likely to attain the streaming-service scale required — 300 million global subscriptions at an average of $15 per month — to generate attractive cash flows,” Kilar wrote.

That does not sound like a high bar. I don't know why he believes only three companies will achieve 300 million at $15 ... although finding companies that stop at the $15 price point could be a challenge.

Some may question Kilar’s power to see the future: This is the guy who decided to put the entire 2021 Warners theatrical slate on HBO Max day and date. Your mileage may vary as to whether that was the right move, but there’s near-universal agreement that he would have done better to give his partners a heads up.

Is being a "former CEO" a qualification? He was booted from WarnerMedia due to the merger (which even though he was CEO he was kept in the dark about until it was announced). Discovery's CEO was able to continue on in the role in the combined company.

I'm not sure how well his idea of watching TV shows in theaters will perform. I suppose theaters need something to play with the theatrical release window growing smaller on made for theater movies. For many years "made for TV" movies were slightly below the standard that could perform well in a theater. Perhaps really good TV shows (such as Game of Thrones that Kilar uses as an example) are high enough standard TV that theaters will be able to draw a crowd.
 

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“No more than three global entertainment companies are likely to attain the streaming-service scale required — 300 million global subscriptions at an average of $15 per month — to generate attractive cash flows,” Kilar wrote.

That does not sound like a high bar. I don't know why he believes only three companies will achieve 300 million at $15 ... although finding companies that stop at the $15 price point could be a challenge.
Growth in the global number of streaming subscribers is slowing now. Netflix is the leader and has been at it since 2007. They're at 223 million total subs now. At the other end of the spectrum, Paramount+ (which has been expanding internationally this year) has just 46 million worldwide.

Is being a "former CEO" a qualification? He was booted from WarnerMedia due to the merger (which even though he was CEO he was kept in the dark about until it was announced). Discovery's CEO was able to continue on in the role in the combined company.
Kilar was the CEO of Hulu for years before being chosen to lead HBO Max. I think he's very sharp. Hulu, I've argued, has long pointed the way toward the future of what TV will look like. It began as a cooperative venture between traditional Hollywood studios/networks (Disney/ABC, Fox, NBCU), intimating the future mergers that would be necessary among some of those pre-streaming powerhouses in order to compete with Netflix. It was the first service to blur the lines between old TV and new TV by putting network shows on streaming next-day. It was the first service to sell itself two ways, with limited targeted ads at a lower price or ad-free at a higher price, a move that nearly everyone, including Netflix, would ultimately imitate. And it was the first service to offer other subscriptions as optional add-ons inside their app, with Showtime being the first. (Amazon Prime Video would follow suit a few months later.)

Discovery's Zaslav has a very different vision than Kilar (cost-cutting and profitability versus growth), so it was no surprise that he'd can him. It seems to pretty much be the Discovery people running the show at WBD, with the notable exception of Casey Bloys and his team at HBO. Warner is becoming a shadow of what it used to be, with so much of its talent and personnel gone through the AT&T and now Discovery eras.

I'm not sure how well his idea of watching TV shows in theaters will perform. I suppose theaters need something to play with the theatrical release window growing smaller on made for theater movies. For many years "made for TV" movies were slightly below the standard that could perform well in a theater. Perhaps really good TV shows (such as Game of Thrones that Kilar uses as an example) are high enough standard TV that theaters will be able to draw a crowd.
Yeah, I think he's talking about those expensive high-end shows like House of the Dragon and Amazon's new Lord of the Rings series, which is reportedly the most expensive season of television ever produced. Stuff like that has production values that rival Hollywood blockbuster films and could benefit from viewing on the big screen, so it doesn't seem like a stretch that a few shows (maybe season premieres and/or finales) could see limited theatrical runs.
 

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Yeah, Kilar is reiterating what, I think, has been the conventional wisdom in the industry for awhile now. Which is that, when the dust settles in the streaming wars after the next couple years or so, we'll be left with Amazon, Apple and (at most) three others. Obviously, Netflix and Disney are going to be two of those three.

The question is: who will be number three? It would have to be some combination of Warner, Universal and/or Paramount (along, perhaps, with one or more smaller players, like AMC or Lionsgate/Starz). Kilar seems to assume that one or more mergers will produce the studio/service that will fill that third spot.

My money is still on a Universal + Warner tie-up in 2024 or '25 as the most likely scenario, assuming such a mega-merger could pass muster with US and EU authorities. I'm less certain lately that it would. If not, then we probably end up with just four, not five, major global DTC services, with Warner, Universal, Paramount, and Lionsgate all ultimately exiting the global DTC race to become "arms dealers" (like Sony) who create and sell content to the big four DTCs. But if that's what happens, I could still see HBO existing as its own smaller US-only streaming service, sold as a "channel" option via streaming gatekeepers' own UIs (e.g. Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Channels, Roku Channel, etc.).
I wouldn't count on amazon..they are chopping money losing businesses
 
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